Nolan is perfectly cast as the struggling ball club manager. What a fine effortless actor he was, always making dialog sound both natural and spontaneous. The movie had more substance than I expected. It's not a straight Cinderella story of a manager taking a last place team (Brooklyn) to the top. Instead, Maguire (Nolan) has plenty of downs to go with the occasional up, and in the romantic department, as well. And what a dish Carole Landis (Kathryn) is, all outfitted here in upper-class finery, and before she became the more familiar blonde.
The most notable thing about this sports story is how the fans of Brooklyn are portrayed. Note that the movie was made at the beginning of WWII. The preceding decade of the 1930's was the decade of the "common man" when everyday ordinariness was honored by Hollywood's dream factory.
Here, that ordinariness is on display with an emphasis on fighting spirit from both the rowdy fans and the Brooklyn team. On a larger scale, it would take that sort of popular effort and team spirit to win the big war, which amounts to a topical sub-text even in this modest programmer.
Note too how the upper class is portrayed as slightly effete, especially lounge lizard Walter (Allen), Maguire's rival for Kathryn's affections. In the screenplay, Brooklyn stands for the borough of the common man and his combative spirit, while Manhattan receives a rather dismissive upper-class reference. It's Hollywood gearing up for the big war, and, on the whole, a better movie than I expected, but nothing special.
(In passingI can't help noticing that the Brooklyn team is never referred to as the Dodgers, just as the generic "Brooklyn". Similarly, for St. Louis minus the Cardinals. I expect these generic references allowed the producers to avoid legal problems.)
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